Should the AGILE MANIFESTO Require Certification - Before All Others?

July 23, 2020
4 minute read

I like to get to the heart of things – their source. Therefore, I love the Agile Manifesto when trying to understand all things agile.

The Manifesto is an ideological, philosophical paper outlining the 4 values and 12 principles of how to manage your tasks (in IT but elsewhere, too) and work with your colleagues in an agile manner.  It is not Scrum or Kanban or SAFe – those are wonderful tools. However, it is the Manifesto that clarifies what it actually means to be agile.

Like many of you, I have learned and received certifications – in Scrum, Product Owner, CAL1, and Kanban’s TKP, too.  These are all good frameworks that help in very specific ways to be more agile. And in all or most of the above courses, the Manifesto is used or referenced – to a degree.  But, in my opinion, it is not used to a degree that allows the agile principles to be fully understood and absorbed.

The Manifesto is the heart and soul of all things agile.  It is the ploughed field – the source of growth and understanding.

I would really appreciate attending a one-day training class that goes through each value and principle of the Manifesto, with deep discussion on the meaning of each.  It would then be helpful to create examples of what the value/principle would look like in action.  Perhaps one should even memorize some or all of the Manifesto.

And then I’d like to write a test and be certified as understanding the Manifesto and what agility means.

In 2000 Jim Highsmith for the Agile Alliance wrote: “This freedom from the inanities of corporate life attracts proponents of Agile Methodologies, and scares the begeebers… out of traditionalists. Quite frankly, the Agile approaches scare corporate bureaucrats— at least those that are happy pushing process for process’ sake versus trying to do the best for the ‘customer’ and deliver something timely and tangible and ‘as promised’—because they run out of places to hide.”

So why is there no Manifesto certification? People seem capable of learning Scrum, forming teams, working in various roles, but then question whether or not they are agile.  Agile is agile – it is not Scrum, not Kanban – it is its own thing.

Again Jim Highsmith wrote: “The Agile movement is not anti-methodology, in fact, many of us want to restore credibility to the word methodology. We want to restore a balance. We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment.”

If I were one of the authors/ signatories of the Manifesto – and there were 17 of them – I’d shake my head at all the thousands of arguments that exist online and in organizations throughout the world about whether some company or practice or person is truly agile.

Hence, I would insist on a Manifesto education and certification, in order for a company or person to even USE THE WORD agile, and put to rest the conundrums, anxieties and arguments once and for all.

Or, perhaps, I could be wrong – and all that’s needed is more discussion, study and simple understanding.


[This article was originally published on Agile Advice on 31-Mar-2019]



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